Iran Names Two Countries Preventing Dream of Nuclear Weapons-Free Middle East From Being Realised
18:04 GMT 07.10.2021 (Updated: 18:55 GMT 07.10.2021)
The Islamic Republic has long maintained that it has no intention to pursue nuclear weapons – or weapons of mass destruction of any sort – with its leaders issuing religious rulings deeming such weapons to be antithetical to the tenants of Islam.
Iran has accused Israel and the United States of preventing the realisation of an old Iranian proposal made nearly 50 years ago to create a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.
“In our region, the US stance and that of the Israeli regime on the Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone, initiated by Iran in 1974, have prevented the establishment of such a zone,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, said at a General Assembly meeting on Wednesday.
Accusing Tel Aviv of possessing “all types of weapons of mass destruction” and of threatening their use against other countries in the region, Ravanchi urged the international community to “force” Israel “to join all related instruments, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, without any preconditions while accepting the comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Israel neither denies nor confirms possessing nuclear weapons in a policy known as "nuclear ambiguity." Estimates on the suspected size of the country’s arsenal range from 80 to 400 warheads, and Tel Aviv is suspected of possessing the missile technology to use these weapons almost anywhere in the world.
Ravanchi’s comments marked a throwback to the an idea first proposed Shah regime, with the concept of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East tabled by Iran in a resolution
put forth before the United Nations General Assembly in late 1974. The resolution, penned amid growing regional concerns about Israel’s nuclear ambitions, was put forth again by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006, and by former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in 2015.
29 September 2021, 11:02 GMT
Commenting on the fate of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal – the landmark international agreement which committed Tehran to reduce the scale and scope of its uranium enrichment and stockpiling activities in exchange for relief from crushing sanctions – Ravanchi recalled that it was Washington and its allies, not the Islamic Republic, which have broken their commitments to the treaty.
“On the JCPOA, the uncontested reality is that until now, Iran has adhered to the JCPOA’s terms while the UE and the E3 [France, Germany and the UK] have failed to meet their JCPOA obligations,” the diplomat said. “Iran is committed to the full implementation of the JCPOA provided that the other participants live up fully to their commitments and lift all unjust sanctions in a speedy and verifiable manner,” he added.
Ravanchi dismissed recent US efforts in negotiations in Vienna to tie Iran’s conventional missile programme to the nuclear deal, emphasising that Tehran’s “defensive” missile capability was “being pursued in line with our inherent rights and international commitments.”
His remarks come in the wake of comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday warning that a US return to the Iran nuclear deal could soon become pointless, given’s Tehran’s increasingly sophisticated enrichment activities.
“Given what Iran is doing with its nuclear programme… we are getting closer and closer to a point where simply returning to compliance with the JCPOA won’t recapture the benefits of the agreement,” Blinken said.
6 October 2021, 17:14 GMT
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told reporters
that Tehran was preparing for a seventh round of talks with the US and the remaining JCPOA members in Vienna about restoring the agreement as soon as early November.
The Vienna talks were initiated at the initiative of the Biden administration in the spring as the president sought to make good on a campaign promise to return the US to the nuclear deal. However, the negotiations have been deadlocked since the summer, as neither Tehran nor Washington proved willing to be the first to make concessions – Iran by reducing its nuclear activities, the US by scrapping its sanctions.
Iran began to gradually withdraw from its commitments under the JCPOA on uranium enrichment and stockpiling in May 2019, exactly one year after the Trump administration unilaterally scrapped the nuclear agreement amid heavy lobbying from Israel. Tehran had given the agreement’s three Western European signatories a one year window to come up with tools to take the sting out of US banking and energy sanctions, and when they failed to do so, began ramping up enrichment
, all the while maintaining that its activities remain strictly peaceful in nature.
3 October 2021, 04:58 GMT